Ninety-nine PARANOIA

Contributed by Graeme Frost / Aardvark

Each player begins the game with 0 points. The object of the game is to finish three rounds (or more) with as few points as possible. Deal out 3 cards to each player from a standard 52 card deck (if more than 4 people are playing use 2 decks). The undealt cards are placed on the table to form a face-down stock. The player to the left of the dealer starts and the turn initially passes clockwise.

On each turn you play one (or two for special combos) of your three cards face-up to the centre of the table, call out the total value of the face-up pile, telling the next player it is their turn (by saying their name), and then drawing the top card from the face-down stock. (The next player can challenge the previous player if it is felt that the arithmetic is wrong, with a possible point penalty if it occurs that a mistake was made.)

At the start, when the face-up pile is empty the count is zero. For each card played add the pip value of the card played to the total value of the pile, with the following exceptions for special cards:

  • Ace - increases the value of the pile by one or eleven, at the player's choice.
  • Two – increases the value of the pile by two and each player passes a card to their neighbour in the current direction of play. The player laying the two can draw their next card from the face-down pile first, and then decide which card they wish to pass to their neighbour. Other players must decide which card to pass BEFORE they look at the card they receive from their other neighbour.
  • Four - the value of the pile remains the same but the direction of play reverses.
  • Eight - counts as zero - the value of the pile remains the same and play passes to the next player in turn.
  • Ten - increases or reduces the value of the pile by ten, at the player's choice.
  • Jack – increases the value of the pile by ten BUT one-eyed Jacks (Spades and Hearts) have the following additional effects:
    • When played on the face-up pile you gain one point IN ADDITION to any points gained by raising the value of the pile past 33 or 66 or 99.
    • If a player has a one-eyed Jack in their hand at the end of a round they gain three points.
  • Queen – increases the value of the pile by ten BUT black Queens (“Black Widows”) have the following additional effects:
    • When played on the face-up pile you gain two points IN ADDITION to any points gained by raising the value of the pile past 33 or 66 or 99.
    • If a player has a black Queen in their hand at the end of a round they gain five points.
  • King – increase the value of the pile by ten and each player passes a card to their neighbour in the current direction of play. The player laying the King can draw their next card from the face-down pile first, and then decide which card they wish to pass to their neighbour. Other players must decide which card to pass BEFORE they look at the card they receive from their other neighbour.
  • TWO CARD COMBOS (Player laying a two-card combo picks up two cards from the face-down stock after their turn):
    • Two threes of different colour – sets the value of the pile to 33 and player can change the direction of play if desired.
    • Two threes of the same colour – sets the value of the pile to 33 and player nominates whose turn it is next. Then play continues normally.
    • Two sixes – just like threes above except that the value of the pile is set to 66.
    • Two nines – just like threes and sixes except that the value of the pile is set to 99.
    • Two Kings – increase the value of the face-up pile by 10, BUT any points incurred are added to the scores of each of the other players.

If your card causes the score to cross the boundary 33/34 you gain a point.

If your card causes the score to cross the boundary 66/67 you gain two points.

If a player lays a ten and reduces the value of the pile by ten, causing it to cross back over a boundary 67/66 or 34/33, there is no penalty.

If your card causes the score to cross the boundary 99/100 you gain three points and the round ends.

If the last card played was a two or a King, the player laying must pick up a card from the face-down pile as normal and then all the players must pass a card in the current direction of play – ONLY THEN does the round end.

At the end of a round players with penalty cards, i.e. one-eyed Jacks or black Queens, add the appropriate number of points to their score.

Players need to agree the following before the start of the game:

  • How many rounds will be played.
  • Who will keep the points score for the players on a sheet of paper.
  • If the final score will be in number of rounds won (the number of pints each player has is reset to zero at the start of each round), or:
  • If the final score will be in the number of pints accumulated (the number of points each player has is carried through from one round to the next).
  • How to reward winners and how to punish losers.

SUMMARY OF RULES FOR EACH CARD

Card

Effect when played

Penalty for holding at end of a round

Ace

Increase value of face-up pile by 1 or 11.

None.

2

Increase value of face-up pile by 2. Player picks up card from face-down stock and then all players pass one of their cards to the next player in the current direction of play.

None.

3

Increase value of face-up pile by 3.

None.

3 & 3

Set the value of face-up pile to 33. Non-matching colours: If desired, change the direction of play. Matching colours: Nominate which player follows on.

None.

4

Leave value of face-up pile as it is. Change direction of play.

None.

5

Increase value of face-up pile by 5.

None.

6

Increase value of face-up pile by 6.

None.

6 & 6

Set the value of face-up pile to 66. Non-matching colours: If desired, change the direction of play. Matching colours: Nominate which player follows on.

None.

7

Increase value of face-up pile by 7.

None.

8

Leave value of face-up pile as it is. Direction of play continues as before.

None.

9

Increase value of face-up pile by 9.

None.

9 & 9

Set the value of face-up pile to 99. Non-matching colours: If desired, change the direction of play. Matching colours: Nominate which player follows on.

None.

10

Increase or decrease value of face-up pile by 10.

None.

Jack

Increase value of face-up pile by 10. One-eyed Jacks incur a one-point penalty for the player laying them IN ADDITION to any point penalty that may be incurred by crossing 33/34, 66/67 or 99/100.

spadeheart Three points.
diamondclub None

Queen

Increase value of face-up pile by 10. Black Queens incur a two-point penalty for the player laying them IN ADDITION to any point penalty that may be incurred by crossing 33/34, 66/67 or 99/100.

spadeclubFive points.
heartdiamond None.

King

Increase value of face-up pile by 10. Player picks up card from face-down stock and then all players pass one of their cards to the next player in the current direction of play.

None.

King & King

Increase value of face-up pile by 10. If any points are incurred by crossing 33/34, 66/67 or 99/100, these are added to each of the other players’ scores.

None.